A Wedding Barn is Born
In 2000 Christiane and Fred Bergheim purchased the Elder Hill farm in order to transform it into the area's only professional farm wedding venue. The Bergheims had previously owned Cornish Manor restaurant in Oakland and a French bakery before that, so they brought decades of catering and wedding experience to the new business.
Before the barn was opened for events, a major renovation occurred. The flooring in the upper level where hay had been stored was almost completely deteriorated.
The Bergheims replaced it with hardwood Ash flooring reinforced with steel and concrete supports to create a safe and attractive dining and dancing area.
The basement where the cows were housed required repair to three walls. The floor was stained to mimic old European stone.
The barn was completely closed in and insulated to keep out unwanted critters. A commercial kitchen was added, and designed to be so warm and inviting that it looks like a dream from a magazine. Four bathrooms were built, along with decking and awnings.
Christiane added eclectic touches all over the barn, creating a highly decorated venue. This is where our "quirky European sensibilities" began. A French native with a heavy accent and dramatic flair, Christiane forged the original aesthetic of the barn from her intense and colorful creativity.
In 2001 Chanteclaire Farm opened its doors for weddings....
From 2001 through 2010 Christiane and Fred grew the Chanteclaire Farm wedding business. They laid the foundation for our process of controlling event timing and flow. Christiane developed some signature menu items like slow cooked braised beef and chicken stuffed with apples and brie. They formed a relationship with Jonny Rock, owner of Sounds Fun Entertainment, that resulted in a permanent installation of sound and light equipment. Twenty speakers were positioned throughout the facility, creating unrivaled sound quality. Christiane cooked, decorated the cakes, and managed the planning process, while Fred maintained the property and the administrative tasks.
In 2010 the Bergheims sold the business to Leigh Clarke and retired to Myrtle Beach. They follow the activities of Chanteclaire Farm actively and still keep in touch with Leigh. In Part 3, we explore the most recent updates and changes at Chanteclaire Farm.